Beaufort County Budget, the Silly Season | Eastern North Carolina Now

    Almost everyone puzzles at how the Washington, D. C. clan of elected officials seem to always miss the important things that go with preparing a budget. Those guys always spend too much money, create unnecessary jobs, fund useless programs, listen to the most unqualified people when making some important decisions, and add to last year's spending. The budget never goes down. All of the Washington, D. C. crowd learned the basics of how to make those trillion dollar budgets in small places. That being the case, you should not be surprised to learn the boys who meet in Washington, N. C. to decide the Beaufort County Budget are no different than the crowd in Washington, D. C.

    In a recent article I explained how spending more each year depletes the fund balance causing a tax increase. Considering the bad state of the economy, fewer people working and almost everyone having less money each year for the past several years, I am surprised about the lack of concern about increased County spending. There seems to be no interest in this years budget. Could it be this nation has resolved its self to accept the incompetence of its leaders and like the condemned prisoner is awaiting its fate unable to rise up and throw off the weight of incompetence and greed. I shall ignore your ambivalence and for the fifteenth year, show you where substantial savings can be made.

    Consider that we are budgeting to spend two million dollars more in the coming year than in this year. We also spent two million dollars more this year than the past year. That means we are looking for four million dollars. There are new items in the budget that are needed. Therefore, I will only be writing about things that in my opinion are not needed or are wasteful.

    Beaufort County budgets are difficult to compare because the proposed 2014 budget compares the requested spending with the 2013 budget. County staff hastens to say that we did not spend all of the money budgeted for 2013. This causes the 2014 budget to be distorted upward and allows staff to come back next year and again tell us what a great job they are doing. Industry does not compare last years budget to the coming years proposed budget. Why? Because the budget is a plan for spending. All of the world, except Beaufort County, compares this years actual spending to the coming years spending. That means we are comparing actual to what we intend to spend next year. Would you want to compare the lottery income you hoped to win last year to what you intend to spend the coming year? It won't work. Because of this way of comparing budgets and the lack of zero based budgeting, one must go through the proposed budget and identify spending items that are not necessary. This method, by no means, identifies all savings.
Beaufort County Commissioner Hood Richardson making himself perfectly clear: Above.     photo by Stan Deatherage

    A quick run thru the proposed budget identifies $1,638,000 in direct savings. Among these are surplus employees $135,000, provide medical service in competition with local medical providers, $55,000, $388,000 increased public school spending, $210,000 cost of living increase for all county employees, $400,000 Health Department surplus services, $300,000 sales tax division to municipalities, $100,000 various special interests called culture and recreation, $50,000 donation to Beaufort Area Transportation.

    Not included in the above is the Social Services and Public Safety summaries. Both these show a budget 2013 comparison to budget 2014 with significant additional spending when compared to the actual 2013 spending. Those amounts of money are $618,000 for Social Services and $502,000 for Public Safety. The total is $1,120,000. We need to reduce the 2014 budget by that amount and then look at actual savings. We could easily save $250,000 in the Sheriff's Department and $100,000 in Social Services. This totals another $1,470,000. In addition there is $270,000 to be saved by shutting down Economic Development.

    This comes to $3,028,000 and I did not break a sweat. That is 6 cents in the tax rate or a ten percent saving to the taxpayer. This saving is not going to happen this year. The budget was a done deal within 30 minutes of the beginning of the first budget work session. I made the motion, seconded by Stan Deatherage, to send the budged back to the manager for a two million dollar adjustment. The vote was four to three to keep the budget as presented by the Manager. Langely, Booth, Belcher and the RINO (Republican In Name Only) Klemm voted not to change the budget. Gary Brinn voted with Richardson and Deatherage. The group of liberals will do as they have always done. They will use the Jay MCRoy model. At he very last minute they will make some minor adjustments so they can say they changed the budget. Those who write checks to pay property taxes should be sick to their stomach.

    Replacing Jay McRoy with Gary Brinn produced a conservative shift on the board. That is why the vote was 4 to 3 instead of 5 to 2. It is glaringly apparent that Al Klemm never was a Republican. On major issues he has voted with the Democrats more than 80 percent of the time. A lot of Democrats have not voted with their party 80 percent of the time. Tax payers should not expect their tax bills and Beaufort County Government to change until Klemm is off the Board. Klemm has stated on more than one occasion that he will not run in the 2014 election. But, we could not believe him when he said he is a Republican. I guess he needs to foot note all his statements with "You can believe me this time".
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McCrory, Tillis helping Raleigh ruling class screw over taxpayers on Dix deal The Hood Territory, Editorials, Op-Ed & Politics Another economic development deal goes sour


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